A Plant City dog ​​starred as a superhero in a Dean Cain movie

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PLANT CITY ― As expected, residents of Dunedin snapped photos of Dean Cain whenever he strolled through neighborhoods last month between filming scenes for the movie RADAR: The Adventures of the Bionic Dog.

But on the third day of filming, the actor best known for playing the Man of Steel in Lois & Clark: The New Adventures of Superman was to co-star with another cinematic superhero.

“Beck couldn’t walk 10 feet without someone wanting a photo,” Cassie Kennedy said. “And when people found out she liked pizza, we couldn’t afford a slice. It was free.

Beck is the 17-month-old Belgian Malinois who played RADAR Kennedy is the owner and trainer of 23-year-old Beck.

Both reside in Plant City, where Kennedy trains dogs and lives with eight of them, four of whom perform for live events, movies and television series.

According to online casting calls, RADAR tells the story of a mad scientist who invents a “remote activated duplicate shopper” dog to find pirate treasure off the coast of Florida. But the dog develops emotions, befriends a boy and helps him find the gold. The mad scientist, played by Paul Wilson of St. Petersburg, then seeks to obtain the boy’s dog and treasure.

Cain, who played the mayor of Dunedin, has 192 credits on his acting resume.

RADAR was Beck’s big break.

“It was Beck’s first time doing anything other than performing at the Strawberry Festival,” said Kennedy, owner of Ohana Dog Training. “She’s done really well, especially considering she’s so young.”

Cassie Kennedy works on set with her dog Beck, who stars in the film ‘RADAR: Adventures of the Bionic Dog’ which was filmed in Dunedin. [ Courtesy of Eric Kennedy ]

Kennedy previously trained dogs at Courteous Canine in Lutz, but was laid off during the pandemic lockdown.

“It was a difficult time,” said Eric Kennedy, her father. “She lost the job she loved. But I told him to turn that into a positive. We live in the countryside and have land so it’s no problem staying six feet apart. Why not train dogs here alone? It is all good. His business is doing well and his dogs are becoming celebrities.

Stoke, his 9-year-old border collie, is a sought-after performance dog, Kennedy said, reserved at sporting events and festivals.

Renegade, her 3-year-old border collie, is better known as “Barkley” among fans of the Music Club Kids YouTube channel, which remakes hit songs with a childish twist. Renegade stars in several music videos for the channel, including one for the song I’m in love with my dogwhich is an adaptation of Ed Sheeran shape of you.

Tiki, her 11-year-old border collie, will next be seen in a series called the lawyerwho, according to IMDB.comis about a child protection worker who uses supernatural gifts “to protect and save those who need his help most.”

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Fathom, Kennedy’s 15-year-old golden retriever recently passed away, but will soon be featured in a Wells Fargo ad.

To be a doggie comedian, a dog must handle long days without getting tired, Kennedy said. “Beck could go all day. She has a lot of energy. They also want a dog that is obviously good with people.

The dog must also quickly learn new tricks.

Beck is a 17 month old Belgian malinois.
Beck is a 17 month old Belgian malinois. [ Courtesy of Eric Kennedy ]

Digging a hole on command was among the skills Beck had to master on two weeks’ notice for the film.

To teach him, Kennedy hid a treat under a blanket on the lawn.

“Every time she tapped it, I used a clicker to let her know she was going to get a reward for that move,” Kennedy said. “Finally I picked up the towel and she started doing it on the ground, in the grass and in the dirt and I would reward her for doing it.”

Beck nailed the scene.

“She dug this giant hole,” Kennedy said. “She was kicking all over the casting team every time she dug. And everyone started laughing because they just thought it was hilarious.

But there was one skill RADAR had that Kennedy couldn’t teach Beck.

“Beck can’t shoot lasers out of his eyes,” Kennedy laughed. “They’ll have to use CGI for that.”

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